Journal of Undergraduate Research


feminist, Judaism, art, Bracha L. Ettinger, cultural trauma transferal




Comparative Arts and Letters


Bracha L. Ettinger is considered by many contemporary art scholars as one of the most important living artists of our day that addresses cultural trauma transferal. The child of Jewish immigrants who escaped the Lodz Ghetto, Ettinger grew in Israel, becoming interested in the wealth of different cultural and religious perspectives that thrive in the city. She eventually left Israel to pursue a PhD in psychology in France and now teaches psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School, focusing on her own theories of the Matrixial Borderspace. Because of her many influences, her art is extraordinarily complex and rich with symbolic meaning. While many scholars have tackled her work from various feminist and religious angles, her newest series, which includes Eurydice-Pieta no. 53 (2012-2016) carries clear Christian allusions that have not yet been addressed. The purpose of my research was to understand more about her various influences and especially the use of Christian, feminist, and Jewish symbolism in her work. My research began with extensive study of works from the BYU library, including Ettinger’s own work, The Matrixial Borderspace. I also used ORCA funds to purchase Art and Compassion , one of Ettinger’s most important and seminal works only available through purchase online. This was an important beginning to my project, but the most crucial part of conducting any art historical research happens from the visual analysis of the painting. Ettinger’s work is shown in different themed exhibits throughout the year across the United States, but the only sure place to find her work, and the most affordable for me, was the Callicoon Gallery of Fine Arts located at 49 Delancey Street in New York City. After a summer internship, I used ORCA funds to travel to New York City, where I stayed and visited the gallery to conduct research everyday for a little over a week from August 1- August 9, 2017.